Environmental Health Program

The Environmental Health Division of the Alleghany Health District is dedicated to protecting the public’s environment and enhancing the public health and safety of the community. Broad emphasis is placed on education and public awareness of health concerns. The environmental health division is housed in the following four health department locations throughout the Alleghany County Health District:

  • Clifton Forge /Covington Health Departments  – Telephone (540) 962-2173
  • Botetourt County Health Department – Telephone (540) 473-8243
  • Craig County Health Department – Telephone (540) 864-5136
  • Roanoke County/Town of Vinton Health Department- Telephone (540) 283-5050

The Environmental Health Division is responsible for the following programs:

  • Food Program
  • Tourist Establishments (Hotels, Motels, Bed and Breakfast Facilities)
  • Other Establishment
  • Sewage Disposal Systems
  • Rabies
  • Vector Control (Rodents and Insects)
  • General Environmental Programs (Pools, Lead, Solid Waste)
  • Complaints

Food Program

Although the Commonwealth of Virginia , Board of Health, Food Regulations, 12 VAC 5-421 require yearly inspections, food establishments in the Roanoke City & Alleghany Health District are inspected by this division according to their priority or risk assessment.

Environmental Health Specialist Seniors ( EHSSs ) inspect food establishments that include: restaurants, short order, continental breakfast facilities located in tourist establishments, mobile units, seasonal concessions, temporary food events, festivals, school cafeterias, child care centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and homes for adults and institutions.

  • Grocery store delis that do not provide seating capacity are under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Agriculture and Commerce, however, the Roanoke City Code gives the health department authority to inspect and permit these facilities.
  • Effective July 1, 2002, a Virginia Permit Fee Policy was passed by the General Assembly, charging fees for plan reviews, new permits, annual permit renewals and temporary food events, covered by the Code of Virginia, Chapter 35.

Restaurant inspections performed since 1/1/03 are now available at the web site,  http://www.healthspace.ca/vdh.

Tourist Establishments (TES)

These are hotels, motels and bed and breakfast facilities. They are inspected and permitted. New regulations on TES establishments became effective February 1, 2002. Effective July 1, 2002, a Virginia Permit Fee Policy was passed by the General Assembly.

Other Establishments

Summer Camps

These are camps that children normally attend during the summer months when school is not in session. The health department is responsible for inspection and permitting these facilities. The highlights of these regulations include approved water and sewage disposal facilities, clean rooms or cabins that are in good repair, approved kitchen facilities that are under restaurant standards and approved swimming facilities.


Campgrounds may be as primitive as just having “pup tents” or may provide all the comforts of home, depending on the desires of the camper. Some campgrounds provide water hookups, sewage disposal, bathhouses and swimming facilities. As in summer camps, campgrounds are inspected and permitted by the health department.

Migrant Labor Camps

The facilities are for workers that travel from town to town seeking employment wherever farmers need them. These are inspected and permitted as any other facilities to ensure safe drinking water, proper sewage disposal facilities, specific regulations for housing accommodations such as number of people per bedroom and home kitchen setup.

Public Swimming Pools

All apartment complexes, fitness centers, YMCA, YWCA, and government owned public pools are inspected and permitted under local codes. Roanoke City and Roanoke County have local codes that require a $50 fee each pool season before a permit can be issued. Tourist establishment pools and spas are under state regulations as well as local codes.


This program is currently under the jurisdiction of the Building Department. The EHSSs are available to render expertise to building officials on health related problems in housing, however, all housing complaints are presented to the building department.


This division works very closely with the Animal Control Division, reviews reports of all animal bites to insure proper procedures for quarantine, quarantine releases and notifications to victims are performed. When animals are not located for quarantine, personal calls and letters are issued to the victims to assure they are aware of the state health department’s position in obtaining rabies post-exposure shots. This division prepares specimens for shipment to the laboratory in for rabies testing.

Reminder: Rabies is a fatal disease and is one of the most important programs in the division.

Vector Control (Rodents and Insects)

A large amount of time is spent educating the public of preventative measures for rodent harborages and feeding areas. The exterminator may perform work on buildings owned by the city/county that are not under private contract, such as fire stations, libraries, city garages, and recreation centers, and may assist the Western Virginia Water Authority personnel in locating broken lines associated with rodent infestations. In the other areas of the district, the EHSSs normally investigate any complaints called in, home visits are made, and advice and education is given.

On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems (Septic Tanks) & Private Home Wells

Applications for well and on-site sewage disposal systems are received by the district.  When standard systems cannot be installed, alternative systems are suggested. This division also investigates many types of sewage complaints.

Lead Program (Lead Based Paint)

When a physician reports a child (normally 5-years-old or younger), the EHSS and public health nurse jointly make visits to the child’s home, and other places they may spend time, such as day care centers or babysitters, and advise the parents of proper diet and cleaning practices to reduce the lead levels within the child. Normally dust wipes and chipping paint samples, water and soil samples are collected and sent to a private laboratory for analysis to determine the source of lead in the child’s environment.

Solid Waste

These are complaints of trash and garbage not properly contained for pickup by the local Department of Solid Waste Management. Trash, garbage and rat complaints are often received at the same location. Complaints of “bulk” items such as brush, old tires, junk, furniture, etc., are also investigated and property owners notified to remove.

Water Supplies

Public water supplies, serving the various municipalities are monitored by the Lexington Regional Office of Water Programs. Private wells are permitted and approved by the local Health Department.

General Environmental and Other Programs

This could cover any environmental health problems not mentioned above on a Case by case basis.


If you need  more specific information on any of these public health programs or to file a complaint, please contact our central district office as follows:

Roanoke City Health Department – Telephone: (540) 283-5050
Fax:    (540) 857-7315

Mailing Address:
Environmental Health Division
Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts
1502 Williamson Rd. 2nd Floor
Roanoke, VA  24012

Fees for Services:
Food Service Establishments – $40 New and Annual Renewals
Plan Review Fees – $40
Pools New and Annual Renewals – $50
Tourist Establishments New and Annual Renewals – $40
Well & Septic Fees – Varies by locality, Contact your local health department.

For more Information

Information on all Environmental Health Rules and Regulations can be found the VDH Web Site under the Office of Environmental Health Services (OEHS). http://www.vdh.state.va.us/EnvironmentalHealth/index.htm

Comments or questions concerning this web page should be sent to:  roanokeweb@vdh.virginia.gov